Sex crimes charges filed against former Sleepy Eye pastor

A former Sleepy Eye pastor accused of grooming and sexually assaulting a teen girl has been charged.

Nathan Van Alfred Luong, 36, of Rochester, faces three felony counts of 3rd-degree criminal sexual conduct in Brown County Court.

An investigation into Luong began in May 2022, after Sleepy Eye Police received a child protection report from Olmsted County, where Luong had moved.

A woman whom Luong had faith-counseled told investigators Luong told her during one session that he and the 17-year-old victim were in a boyfriend/girlfriend relationship together.  The complaint says Luong also told the woman the victim’s knees were not scuffed from playing basketball.

In another session, Luong allegedly told the woman not to sit on the couch in his office because he and the victim have sex there.  The couch covers were collected as evidence and tested by the Minnesota Bureau of Criminal Apprehension.  The BCA found four areas of the sofa cover that contained semen that matched Luong’s DNA profile, according to the complaint.

The witness also told police that Luong described how he had exchanged vows and rings in the church with the teen.

Another witness told detectives that Luong had created a position for the teen at the church, where she was a member.  When Luong moved to Rochester, he took the girl – now an adult – with him.  The witness told police he’d heard the pastor had sexually assaulted the victim in the youth room and during a youth trip to Montana.

A third witness told police she had received reports from members of Luong’s church who were concerned about his close relationship with the victim.  The witness told investigators she was concerned about possible grooming behavior.

Luong denied any sexual activity with the victim in his office, the youth group room, or his home, according to the complaint.

The victim told police she and Luong had numerous sexual encounters when she was about 17 to 18 years old and an intern at Trinity Lutheran Church.  Her DNA was also matched to the sofa covers, according to the complaint.



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